2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

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Chris Rice
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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Chris Rice » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:27 pm

This is a 25 second video of a game between two strong players. The game ends in chaos as the Black player promotes his pawn and uses an upturned rook, as there appeared to be no queen on the side of the table. The arbiter flies in and I'm not sure what's going on, presumably he's decided that Black must promote to a rook. But watch the player of the White pieces who cunningly has been holding a Black queen in his hand and when all the confusion starts puts it back on the side of the table. Sneaky and I think the arbiter was fooled here as he points to the queen that the Black player should have used. What should the arbiter have done here under the current rules if he had seen what White had done? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cljjF7hCWo
Last edited by Chris Rice on Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:34 pm

Chris Rice wrote:The game ends in chaos as the Black player promotes his pawn and uses an upturned rook,
If there's no Queen to hand, what you are supposed to do is to stop the clock and search for one, or get the arbiter to find one.

Quite what is supposed to happen if there's only one set and there's no spare Queen isn't documented. One of Hartston's books suggested an upturned wine glass, possibly with a pawn balanced on top.

Chris Rice
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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Chris Rice » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:40 pm

It certainly appears the player of the Black pieces should have done what you have said Roger under 6.12b. The game was played in the 2017 Canadian Closed Championship which was a Zonal and the incident is discussed further here with emphasis on whether the player of the White pieces could be said to be bringing the game into disrepute by holding on to the queen. http://chess.ca/newsfeed/node/972

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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:53 pm

Chris Rice wrote:This is a 25 second video of a game between two strong players. The game ends in chaos as the Black player promotes his pawn and uses an upturned rook, the arbiter flies in and I'm not sure what's going on, presumably he's decided that Black must promote to a rook. But watch the player of the White pieces who cunningly has been holding a Black queen in his hand and when all the confusion starts puts it back on the side of the table. Sneaky and I think the arbiter was fooled here and made. What should the arbiter have done here under the current rules if he had seen what White had done? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cljjF7hCWo
This has been discussed extensively on Facebook today, both in a group of arbiters, and amongst a group of Emil Sutovsky's friends.

A general summary of the various points raised, which I hope is a fair one, would be:
  • The arbiter made a correct decision in accordance with the Laws.
  • The player should have stopped the clock to ask the arbiter for a Queen. Players believe this is counter-intuitive in chess. Players of an older generation also believe that this would lose the game, because apparently this was the Law once upon a time.
  • The arbiter could have tried to prevent this problem by having a spare Queen available for both players at the start of the game.
  • The arbiter could have tried to prevent this problem by intervening as black was promoting the pawn, and offering the choice of Queen, Rook, Bishop or Knight. Not just offering a Queen, because that might be construed as advising the player. This is already standard practice in the UK.
  • The problem having occurred, the arbiter might have tried taking white to one side and appealing to his better nature, explaining what happened, and getting a consensus that the upside-down Rook for a Queen. Romain Edouard has said that if he were white, and realised what he'd done, he'd have been happy to change the upside-down Rook for a Queen and played on.
  • The arbiter appeared to not notice that the black Queen was missing, and in fact pointed that it was available on the table when the dispute arose. It had appeared in the intervening period.
  • Should there be a Law preventing a player from holding a captured piece during the game?
I like to think that as an arbiter I would have prevented this problem by making sure a spare Queen was available. If I didn't, then I like to think I'd have intervened as black was promoting the pawn, to give black the choice of promotion piece. I think that would be justified given the exceptional circumstance - white was holding the Queen. If I failed to do either of those things, I think I would have tried to speak to the white player, to see if he agreed that it would be fair in the circumstances to play on with the upside-down Rook for the Queen.

The arbiter made the correct decision based on what it appears he observed. That has to be quite a big tick in the arbiter's favour. The Queen being hidden was not observed though. I would hope as an arbiter, I might see the problem coming with black pawns on d2 and h2. It is probably not intuitive for an arbiter though to look at the captured pieces rather than at the board. If you consider other sports, referees and umpires will make decisions that are correct in law, but they may make mistakes based on mis-observation. For example, every linesman knows the off-side rule, but they might make a misjudgement in where the players are positioned.

It's the sort of thing that, as someone else involved in the organisation of a National Championship with a potential Rapid/Blitz playoff in the next month or so, is quite instructive to learn from; or at least to make sure we improve on what happened at the Canadian Championship.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:04 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: It's the sort of thing that, as someone else involved in the organisation of a National Championship with a potential Rapid/Blitz playoff in the next month or so, is quite instructive to learn from; or at least to make sure we improve on what happened at the Canadian Championship.
I know arbiters hate it, or are indoctrinated to hate it, but what exactly is wrong with the long standing historic convention of using an upturned Rook as a Queen?

As regards the British, why not just hold an eleven round event?

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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by David Sedgwick » Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:30 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: [*] The arbiter made a correct decision in accordance with the Laws.
Really?

What on earth was White doing when he reached across the table, grabbed some pieces and put others down, while Black was moving.

A cynical person would think that he was trying to put the Black Queen back on the table before the arbiter noticed that it was missing. In that case he has contravened Law 11.1: The players shall take no action that will bring the game of chess into disrepute.

A more generous person would feel that his behaviour was thoughtless rather than malicious. Even so, he has contravened Law 11.5: It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever.

Either way, the situation should be restored to the point at which White caused the distraction and Black should be allowed extra time to finish making his move. As far as I can tell from the video, that point is before Black touched the board with the Rook.

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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:42 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote: [*] The arbiter made a correct decision in accordance with the Laws.
Really?

What on earth was White doing when he reached across the table, grabbed some pieces and put others down, while Black was moving.

A cynical person would think that he was trying to put the Black Queen back on the table before the arbiter noticed that it was missing. In that case he has contravened Law 11.1: The players shall take no action that will bring the game of chess into disrepute.

A more generous person would feel that his behaviour was thoughtless rather than malicious. Even so, he has contravened Law 11.5: It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever.

Either way, the situation should be restored to the point at which White caused the distraction and Black should be allowed extra time to finish making his move. As far as I can tell from the video, that point is before Black touched the board with the Rook.
That was the consensus of the discussion on Facebook, yes. I wasn't convinced, as I was at pains to explain subsequently in the post above. The comment that the player should have known to stop the clock has come up a lot.

White was reaching over the board to try to grab his own Queen, because his next move was going to be a8=Q. At first, I thought the hands may have clashed, but that isn't the case. I don't think I consider white reaching over the board to be distracting in this case, because I don't think it contributed to Black's decision to promote to the upside-down Rook. I think that decision was caused by the Queen not being there.

If you mean it was distracting for white to have moved the Queen, then I think I could agree with that. The problem was that the arbiter didn't observe the Queen was missing, so couldn't make that decision. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the arbiter made the correct decision in accordance with the Laws, based on what he saw.
Last edited by Alex Holowczak on Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:44 pm

David Sedgwick wrote: Either way, the situation should be restored to the point at which White caused the distraction and Black should be allowed extra time to finish making his move. As far as I can tell from the video, that point is before Black touched the board with the Rook.
Such is the obsession of arbiters with upturned Rooks that the obvious solution of pausing the game briefly whilst the missing Queen was retrieved was not pursued.

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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:47 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
David Sedgwick wrote: Either way, the situation should be restored to the point at which White caused the distraction and Black should be allowed extra time to finish making his move. As far as I can tell from the video, that point is before Black touched the board with the Rook.
Such is the obsession of arbiters with upturned Rooks that the obvious solution of pausing the game briefly whilst the missing Queen was retrieved was not pursued.
This was actually discussed too. I think players and arbiters agreed that the problem would disappear if the rules didn't make it one. DGT liveboards technicians would disagree, but with FIDE's current mantra of having the same rules for everyone - even if they acknowledge this shouldn't be the case when it comes to anti-cheating measures - the rules necessary for the liveboard technicians have to be applied to all games.

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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:58 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: the rules necessary for the liveboard technicians have to be applied to all games.
DGT as a commercial company should not be allowed to write the Laws of Chess. Make the counter demand that DGT Rooks work as a Queen when upside down.

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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:06 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote: the rules necessary for the liveboard technicians have to be applied to all games.
DGT as a commercial company should not be allowed to write the Laws of Chess. Make the counter demand that DGT Rooks work as a Queen when upside down.
Is that possible with an electromagnet?

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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Andy McCulloch » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:53 am

Surely DGT use RFIDs not magnets. There are only two magnetic poles, insufficient by a large margin for chess pieces.

Separate RFIDs at either end of a rook may be distinguishable, but I do not know enough about the technology to be sure.
There would certainly be a big task to update all the existing sets.

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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Jesper Norgaard » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:45 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
  • Should there be a Law preventing a player from holding a captured piece during the game?
I believe that would be trying to solve the problem in the wrong end. Punishing actions with captured pieces will not guarantee that any new promotions become more consistent, which should clearly be our primary incentive. I believe we should start with the player promoting a pawn. Many players are not aware of the fine point of article 6.12.b that gives them the right to stop the clock and call the arbiter when a promotion piece is not clearly available for the player for whatever reason. There are more reasons than opponents trying to hide captured pieces which could slow down proper promotion actions.

I believe the following addition to article 4.6 would make the point of 6.12.b become explicit and therefore understood by many more players:

"If the promotion piece is not in the hand of the promoting player, he may push the pawn to the last rank and stop both clocks in order to obtain the promotion piece (see 6.12.b)"

It follows that the promotion can no longer take place by placing the promotion piece on the promotion square (since the player can't find it) and removing the pawn, but will then give the proper sequence when he can't find the promotion piece. It is implied that the player is obliged to search for the promotion piece as well as calling the arbiter, but I believe that can be understood implicitly.

It is important that it specifies the pawn push to be a prerequisite to invoking 6.12.b as this is by no means clear from reading of article 6.12.b alone. I believe it is essential to insist on the pawn push so that the promoting pawn (which of several pawns) and the promotion square (again there could be several squares for a given pawn to be promoted) will become explicit.

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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Chris Rice » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:30 am

Here's a detailed article from FM Mike Klein at Chess.com. I read the Facebook discussion on Emil Sutovsky's thread as well. From all this it appears everyone share the blame, the Arbiters for not having a spare queen available and not observing Sambuev holding the queen. Noritsyn for not knowing that he could have stopped the clock and asked the Arbiter for a queen, promoting to an upturned rook, or even that he could have played the illegal d1 and saying queen when Sambuev would have got an extra 2 minutes on the clock instead of being awarded the game. Or of course Sambuev for holding the queen which seems rather unfair, deliberate or not.

What I take away from this is that if you are in any doubt at all about what's going on, stop the clock and speak to the Arbiter. I've often heard the organisers/arbiters say this at the start of a round but of course few are listening at that point. Funnily enough I was one of six coaches at a Chess In Schools tournament on Monday this week. We weren't using clocks and we didn't put out spare queens for all 35 boards but all six of us carried a spare white and black queen. On two occasions an anxious child put his/her hand up when promoting and asked me for a queen. On both occasions I pointed out that there was already one on the side of the table which had previously been captured.

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Re: 2017 Laws of Chess: FIDE Handbook discrepancy

Post by Geoff Chandler » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:20 am

The whole game is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBNEcRgHkvE

White takes the Black Queen around about 8:30 and hangs onto it.
I'm too sure he was cheating, the endgame was along way off. I know a few
players who held a captured piece in their hands. One player, Johnny Marr
absent mindingl sometimes put them in his pocket and took them home.

I think the lad forgot he was holding it in his hands.

Just makes the rule you are not allowed to hold onto or play with or juggle captured pieces.

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